Meet the Seer: Barnaby Clarke
October 06, 2022
Discover more about the people in our team and how they came to work in cybersecurity.
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Barnaby Clarke, content specialist at Panaseer, which means I work on all our blogs, Metric of the Month articles, social media and more.
This is a little odd, as usually I’m the one asking the questions for Meet the Seer rather than writing them. But it’s nice to try new things.
What did you want to be growing up?
When I realised around the age of 10 that playing football for England wasn’t a realistic option, I wanted to be a writer. Back then it would have been novels, films, and history, but now I make do with cybersecurity content.
What brought you to cybersecurity and Panaseer?
When I finished my master’s in Ancient History, I decided I had to get a “proper grown-up job”. My first thought was academia, but apparently you need to know at least six languages, including Latin and Ancient Greek. So that was out. I took some advice to go into sales. That’s how I started at Panaseer, with no cybersecurity knowledge and no real business experience.
But I was working with a knowledgeable team that was happy to share and educate. I absorbed as much information as I could, whether through conversation, sales and business training, or a whole lot of reading.
I wrote a blog post for the website after a year or so, which felt like a more natural fit for my skillset, and transitioned into a content writing role. That way I could apply the business, cybersecurity, and Panaseer-specific knowledge I had learned to our marketing efforts.
How do you describe your job to a layperson?
Describing my job is pretty straightforward: I’m a copywriter for a cybersecurity company. It becomes more complex when you start talking about what that company actually does, so normally I stick with: “cybersecurity data analytics”.
A day in the life…
It’s not just writing articles and PDFs. Each one requires research, whether that’s reading or interviews, which are a particular highlight. They also need associated social media content and email templates. Each content release has multiple elements that we need to get in place as a team. The success of any piece of content isn’t just in how it’s written, but also how it is designed and promoted.
For example, I wrote social copy for this blog. It’s strange to write about yourself in the third person. Julius Caesar eat your heart out.
Then there’s editing. Everything we write as a company needs editing, whether it comes from the content team or other teams. Blogs, newsletters, collateral, emails, slide decks. No writer is perfect, there are always things an editor can help with.
I find it’s a very useful exercise, though. First, I can learn more details about other projects around the company. And second, editing something that someone else has written can help to develop a critical eye over my own work.
What are you most proud of about your role at Panaseer?
I’m proud that I’ve helped to create a well-stocked blog here at Panaseer, particularly with the (shameless plug) Metric of the Month series that I started almost two years ago now. Not just because it’s some of our best performing content, but because it’s given me the opportunity to talk to and learn from influential and knowledgeable people in the industry.
What non-cyber related skill has been the most valuable to you?
I mentioned earlier that my MA was in Ancient History. That’s about as far from cybersecurity as it gets, but when it comes to copywriting, it’s a similar skillset. You research a topic and produce an article with a generous splash of original thinking that will hopefully resonate with your audience. You surface information by reading the right content and speaking to the right people, which provides new and valuable insight. That works for both security metrics and Julius Caesar.
It’s not that I’m a complete novice – after a decent amount of active learning and talking with many experts over the years, whether in security or history, I have a level of knowledge and understanding. But do I consider myself an industry expert? Of course not.
One for fun: Any podcast recommendations?
I love podcasts. Hence why I included this question in the first place. I’m not really a fan of business-related pods, it’s more comedy and history for me.
For comedy: Off Menu, which appeals to the foody in me; Hamish and Andy for some light-hearted Australian banter; It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is great if you’re a fan of the show.
For history: Hardcore History, where some episodes go up to seven hours; History on Fire, a bit more digestible; Our Fake History, which sounds like a conspiracy theory show, but is actually about dispelling historical myths.